|11 months ago :: Jul 26, 2012 - 11:56AM #1|
I am writing here because my boyfriend urged me to as he found this forum to be very helpful in the past. I have been searching for a solution in private for months and occasionally shared the issue with him when it became too much to bear and was affecting my moods, and therefore our interactions.
Please note: we are in a long distance relationship. We met online, then we met in person and spent a lot of time together, now we are apart again.
The problem is that his interactions with other girls and his opinions about other girls really bother me. So perhaps the real problem is emotional insecurity. And for some time I have accepted I have this problem, so whenever the symptoms would flare up (i.e. me feeling angry at whatever interaction or feeling mistrusting of some interaction he would have with a female friend), I would search for articles online or talk to a friend to help calm my thoughts and feel trusting of him again.
Last night this happened again and I spent all night hating myself with a type of hatred I have never felt before, I hated myself for this mistrusting insanity, because it tortures me and I know it will be the demise of our relationship. At the same time, I battled with trying to figure out if it was really just me or is it actually that his interactions with other girls are not as honourable as they can be.
I trust what he says, but that trust lasts only until I see some girl's name pop up on his facebook and I feel anger.
As you might be able to tell by what I have written so far, I am the type of person that fesses up or explores potential (potential but not certain) negative aspects of my personality and behaviour, especially with those I feel really close to. When I do this, I find people easily choose to ascribe the labels I am merely exploring. For example, I do NOT want my boyfriend to end his friendships or change them because of me. I consider that to be controlling and bordering on abusive. I used that word today and for the first time he said "I don't want to feel abused in the future." I believe he never would have said that, had I not used that word. It's like I put it in his mind that my behaviour and expectations might be abusive - whether or not they are actually abusive.
Secondly, I feel he puts other women on a pedestal. I do not know if this is factual but this is how I feel. Once, when I was exploring some lower negative states in myself, he gave me the example of a stranger he barely knew (through some volunteering he was doing) who was younger than me, and he told me how she was living out her dreams, and that he feels we should be like that too. That really bothered me because my whole philosophy of life and how I have lived it so far is to live according to my dreams, but I recognize I am not always in an idealistic pattern of behaviours and thoughts, and I feel comfortable sharing my imperfections with those close to me, but I would hope they wouldn't compare me or provide other girls (especially those younger than me) as examples I should strive to be like. Later on, when I shared this with him, he agreed that he felt he phrased it poorly.
As another example, he has an online friend, also female, whom he knew initially for some professional reasons and now they are friends - to the point he mentioned to her he is now in a relationship. Though he says they only talk about professional subjects which concern them. Anyway, he once shared a picture of her, in a sense of admiring her beauty, he was showing me how she didn't look like she was from her particular ethnic background but more like a classic hollywood actor (she is an actor by profession). That particular point bothered me, just the "awe" in which he appeared to talk about her. Their interactions, so far, do not bother me.
Another online friend he has, whom he says he knows through someone else - why they were introduced, I do not know. Anyway this girl (also a girl - please note he has many more female friends than male friends though he does not feel he has any female friends, nonetheless these girls message him about private important details and moments of their lives), so this girl seemed jealous of our relationship early on so he did reduce talking to her and I am now comfortable with their interactions.
He has a female cousin that he was in love with for some time. From what I understood, she is so beautiful that all guys fall for her beauty, so it wasn't real love on his part - that's the point he was trying to make. Recently he sent me a picture of her and him talking together at a wedding. I am not sure why he sent it. The picture did not bother me as I thought it might before I saw it.
He has another female cousin that he seems to talk to a lot and he told me she is very flirty towards him. If she wasn't in a relationship with his brother, he would think she liked him. She wanted to travel all the way to another city to see him for several days. He also told me that this particular cousin attracts the attention of guys with the way she dresses and then gets upset by unwanted attention. He told me about the really tight pants she wears and how her a** curves show through them.
He told me he was using this as an example of a quality he doesn't like in some girls.
Around the same time, I shared a picture of my cousin and aunt with him and his expressions looked like he was stunned and "wow-ed" by the beauty of my cousin.
Btw, we are both 23 - in fact I am almost a year older to him. My cousin that I just mentioned is 16 or 17 and his cousin is 19 I believe - the one with the curvy bum - he showed me with his hands the shape of her bum.
I am making him sound really bad, I know with 1000000% certainty that he is sincere, that he loves me, that I love him, that we both want this work. That's why we are posting here. But we have a great problem - either the way he talks about other girls or relates to them is problematic and would harm any girl's sense of self and therefore create insecurities, or I am bringing in insecuriteis from elsewhere into the relationship or it is both.
He told me about yet another online female friend, and they both shared a romantic interest in each other in the past, but now they do not have that (obviously) and their interactions seem totally normal and fine. They never met. Nothing about their interactions bothers me, nothing about her bothers me.
Btw, I have many male friends but I do find my interactions with them are less ever since we got into a relationship and my friendships are definitely purely platonic and not excessive as in, well, not like the next example I will share:
So here's the example that we argued about all of today and have not found a real conclusion and that's why I am posting this here and I will share it with him and he can comment to make his contributions so we can make this work and not have us affect this for the rest of our lives. At any time I find I am demanding he cut off his friendships or feeling like that, I will end the relationship we have because I refuse to be abusive and controlling. I spend all my time reading on how to be healthy and a good partner, and have a great relationship so I do not know why we are having this issue - we have one more issue apart from this which is different ideas about religion but perhaps we will get into that later.
So the female friend that is bothering me most, she is older to him - by 6 or 7 years, also someone he knows online, has not met in person, yet. She is currently apparently engaged though she seems be sharing some very special things with my boyfriend. My boyfriend and her fiance are of the same faith (as am I) but apparently he is not religious. She is not of the same faith as the three of us. Anyway she seeks to learn about our religion from the views that my boyfriend has. They spent 5 hours talking about religion whereas when my boyfriend and I do that, we end up fighting because in my belief he is unable to comprehend the plurality of my beliefs and thoughts, and fears for me in the afterlife. Whereas I find myself very understanding and supportive of his spirituality, he is only like that with me when the conversations I have remain limited to the beliefs we share entirely, anything beyond his knowledge scares him. So it bothered me that while he and I can't talk about this without fighting, he talked to her for so long about some really deep topics to the point she became interested in the religion. And religion is a big thing. So she is going to my boyfriend for religion. Secondly, they were planning on writing a book together about their lives - a very deep and personal project. Though he told me recently he decided not to do this (but never told me till after I expressed my thoughts about it) because he felt it was of a special nature and something he shouldn't share with other females. Third, she is planning to visit him in the country he will be moving to soon - before I ever get the chance to. She calls him pn the phone (or has in the past) to consult him on her problems, she trusts him a lot. While it is nice that he is there for someone who was in need, I do not like that he is playing such seemingly signficant roles in her life. He was flying last night, she wrote on his facebook to tell him when he arrived safely - she referred to herself has his big sister. I felt a lot of anger seeing that. Real siblings are not like this, so why is she. Why is she so invested him, unusually invested despite having a life elsewhere, despite having friends elsewhere. Apparently he was the only one she could trust last year when going through some major crises in her life. He told me he was introduced to her through some friend - why couldn't she trust this mutual friend? I don't even know who this mutual friend is. When he replied to her, it was in a private message rather than on his facebook wall - because she was online.
This is all for now. I hope someone can help. I love him, he loves me. I am sure of this. Any argument or instances of the nature described above make me start feeling like I need to start planning a life on my own, without him, because I will be left by him emotionally for other girls who are sane, unlike me. The other perfect girls. Just because I explore a potential flaw in myself, doesn't mean I have it, it just means I am willing to explore the responsibility I may have in something. If it really is all just me and my mad mind, please help me fix my issues. I do not wish to damage our relationship. If it is both of us, please advise us. Thank you.
P.s. I was never cheated on in the past so it is not a past relationship affecting me. It's not even a fear of being cheated on per say, it's that I do not wish for him to share really special moments or bond deeply or discuss really deep things with other girls. I think. And he says with conviction that he's not. And I don't want to ask him to change, if he does, he should of his own accord (as I did with my guy friends in a totally natural way without losing their friendship or making them feel I am cutting things off).
|11 months ago :: Jul 26, 2012 - 1:58PM #2|
I would suggest you find a therapist.
I see two possibilities here and we can't diagnose it on the internet.
One is that he really is not trustworthy and at some level you understand he is using you.
The other is that he is trustworthy but you cannot trust. That is a different issue entirely.
Clearly, if he is using you and stringing you along--living his dream, not yours, for example, you need to cut the ties.
If he is simply frustrated that you cannot understand that he can interact with women as friends, then the problem is yours.
FWIW, I can be walking down the street with my husband and he'll see a beautiful women and tell me that he would really like to have sex with her. I just laugh, because he is simply reacting to her looks, and I know it is me he loves.
Be honest with yourself, and good luck.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize what you heard was not what I meant...
|11 months ago :: Jul 26, 2012 - 4:58PM #3|
Thank you for taking the time to read that. That doesn't sound right at all about him using me, he's definitely not. He's the one who suggested I write here as we both want to find a solution to this rather than arguing about this one friend of his every few weeks. I guess the problem is mine, I guard my privacy very well by taking my diaries with me everywhere I go (as inconvenient as it may be to lug them around) and keeping passwords on everything. I do not entirely trust anyone to respect my privacy, including family and friends. With this particular friend of his, I do not trust her to understand where she has to draw the line, because I believe there are cultural differences in her understanding on how much access / right she has to my boyfriend emotionally (even if as a friend or "little brother") and perhaps this is why, depending on who is reading this, I will be told I am possessive and have trust issues. I think if I had problems with him having female friends - I'd go ballistic about every single girl he associates with, especially ones with whom he has shared feelings in the past, but I don't. The type of interaction he has with this one particular friend is of a deeper nature, in my opinion, and I feel now that he and I are in a very serious relationship, she should back off a little. But I don't see that happening. My boyfriend isn't the only person in world she can talk to about all those deeper things, yet she does. Why is she so unusually invested in him to the point of wanting to visit him next year in the country he is moving to and that will likely happen before I ever get the chance to go there. I don't think this is right. This is how I feel right now, with honesty. Thank you again.
Oh and if my partner ever shares with me his fantasies of having sex with other women, then I would find that very disrespectful. I know it is natural to find other people attractive and that is fine but I do not find that appropriate or respectful to share with your partner - unless we're talking about celebrities.
And finally, I mentioned all the other examples to show that he has not been perfect (unintentinonally) when talking about other girls. It's as unintentional as my extreme irritation towards this girl. In both cases, though it may be unintentional, we end up hurting each other. He hurts me with how I believe he subconsciously reacts to other girls and I hurt him with my so-called lack of trust. We wish to stop hurting and move beyond this issue and find a permanent positive and healthy way of dealing with this. Thanks again.
|11 months ago :: Jul 26, 2012 - 7:30PM #4|
Since you are too far apart for couples counseling, I think you need to work on yourself. Ultimately, we cannot change other people. The only people we can change is ourselves.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize what you heard was not what I meant...
|11 months ago :: Jul 28, 2012 - 7:11PM #5|
You two are both pretty young, so take it easy on yourself. There's much to learn, especially about love and relationship.
One book i think you might read is called "Boundaries," by Cloud and Townsend, iirc. Your bf also sounds a bit immature, in that although he KNOWS you are upset by his intimate emotional interactions with other women, he keeps on doing it anyway.
So one place to start might be with what YOUR definition of "love" is. Maybe write it down, what it means to you, what examples of it you've seen(especially in your parents), what's wrong with it, what's right with it, and so on. Suggest that he do similarly, then compare notes.
IME, what usually causes relationships to fail is unspoken expectations---that is, for example, if what YOU mean by "boyfriend" and what HE means by "boyfriend" are miles apart, because he's never told you what that word means to him, and neither have you told him what it means to you, then you have "unspoken expectations" that lead to disappointments, arguments, fights or worse. The same could be said for the word "cheating." To me(and i assume most men), actual cheating is defined as having a sexual relationship involving physical sexual intercourse, but i've learned over the years that women (generally) feel that if a man is sharing emotional intimacies, he's ALSO cheating---and he may not understand that you feel that way, or why you do.
So in sum, then, if you wish to pursue this relationship to perhaps a marriage, it's probably important to get on the same page as far as definitions and expectations go, e.g. father, husband, uncle, son, grandfather, nephew, and etc., for most men are---at some point in their lives---all of these things, just as you are (or will be) the corresponding female words. Something similar might apply for other words, too, like marriage, children, sex, power, money and etc., for if you're a saver and he's a spender(or vice-versa), there could be a problem; if you like sex 2-3 times a day, every day, and he only likes it once a week, there's gonna be trouble; if you would prefer to bear him male children and he wants daughters, or if he wants to bring him up in religion A while you want religion B, again, there will be trouble. Learn how he fights, and why, what he thinks is important. Ask him who his role-models might be, and who he admires and why, as well as who he hates and why(while being prepared to answer similar questions). Observe how he treats his mother or wait staff in restaurants(or any others that some in society consider as "less-than), for if he treats them poorly, i can guarantee that he'll soon turn that attitude on you.
But i don't think that sharing your definitions on the internet will help with your relationship or your intimate connections; keep 'em private, between the two of you.
And just a hint? If you're willing to let a man go, they'll generally come back to you. Try to keep him(by fair means or foul), and you'll drive him away, ime...or make him quite resent how you manipulated or trapped him.
Not that you're doing that or even THINKing about doing that...just a heads-up. Remember not to pin your hopes and dreams on any man, either---especially building fantasy-land castles in the clouds(though it's fun to explore those for a time, especially if he's willing to play along, reality always triumphs).
If you keep a journal or diary(and apparently, you do), then you may be most comfortable with writing down your thoughts and sharing at least some of them; he may not be as willing to do so with you, though. But again, generally speaking, many men will live up to the expectations the woman has of them; low or no expectations are not a good thing, because if you'll settle for practically nothing, that's pretty-much what you'll get...
Just some random thoughts; take what you need, leave the rest.
"History records that the moneychangers have used every form of abuse, deceit, intrigue, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."
-- James Madison(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President